How to pitch your stories so they run in the world’s most visited websites
As a PR company, it’s your job to promote your clients and shine a positive light on them. The goal is to make the individual or company appear as successful, honest, relevant, or intriguing as possible, and there are a few different tactics you can employ to reach that goal.
One of the most effective ways to do this is by finding a way to have your stories published on the most visited websites in the world, since this will build the most credibility and authority in the shortest amount of time. The more eyes that are drawn to your PR content, the more likely it is that the campaign will be a success and your clients will achieve their objectives.
Aside from social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, there are plenty of websites out there that could be interested in publishing your stories – that is, if you know how to put together a compelling pitch.
For example, both Yahoo and MSN are huge content aggregators that tend to accept PR content as long as it fits within their guidelines and provides value to their readers. Both of these publications are featured prominently within the top 50 list we linked to earlier, ranked 9th and 36th respectively, and would therefore offer excellent exposure for your clients. Furthermore, BBC News (ranked 49th) is another fantastic publication based in the UK that accepts story contributions via the “Have Your Say” section of their website, offering another potential area of exposure for your clients.
So, how can one get published on these top media outlets?
Well, sometimes this means coming up with a killer story that showcases your client’s unique expertise/talent; other times, it means forking over some cash to get the chance to publish sponsored content on their site.
Regardless of the path you take, you will almost always have to pitch your stories and get the contributor or editor in question to approve your story before you can move on to the next steps. In general, the most popular way to pitch your content to these websites is through email, usually by contacting the relevant bear writer or editor.
Occasionally, websites will provide a dedicated online form to fill out and submit documents, or they’ll publish a landing page explaining how they like to receive pitches, which helps speed up the process. Whatever avenue you pursue, you must learn how to pitch your stories properly to increase your success rate and stand a greater chance of having your pieces published in these prominent media outlets.
Here are five tips on how to do just that.
Read the target publication and take notes
Before you get started, it’s time to do your research. If you want to stand any chance at getting published, you need to fully understand the target website, their typical readership (and their interests), and the general tone/voice their writers use.
A “one size fits all” approach when pitching your stories is unlikely to bear the best results, and the editors will see straight through a copy and paste tactic.
For example, let’s take Yahoo News, which ranks as the 37th most visited website in the world.
When considering what approach to take with your pitch, you need to carefully consider the target audience for the websites and their subcategories. Try and get a feel for what they like to publish and what angles they tend to opt for.
When pitching your story, keep all of this in mind and make sure you allude to the fact that you have already researched their current content and believe that you could offer something that fits the bill.
Do not pitch an idea or a story that has already been covered in the publication, as most publications will reject you immediately.
Get right to the point
When emailing the publication, be sure to get straight to the point. They will likely sieve through hundreds of these applications each week, so you want to be short, impactful, and memorable.
With this in mind, you should be including the topic of the story in the subject line, before explaining the proposed writing format for the piece, such as an interview, news article, guide, etc.
Then, write a succinct pitch (elevator pitch) that captures the general gist of what your story will cover, and what value it will provide them as a publication.
Provide the hook
Why would someone want to read your story? What is unique about it? In your pitch, you need to sell your company and explain to the publication why it would be worth their while to have your client’s content published on your site.
Do you already have a proven track record of successful content marketing? Can you provide analytics of your content performing well on similar publications? If so, don’t be afraid to make them aware of it.
Lean on your brand, highlight where your values align and signify your intent to the editor. If you can, provide links to some of your other published pieces.
Have a good headline in mind
The headline is one of the essential factors in determining whether or not an article will perform well.
If you can come up with a magnetic headline that draws in curiosity and leaves people wanting to know more, it will receive more clicks and drive more traffic to the publication.
Editors are aware of this, which means that if you can come up with a killer headline that piques their interest, you will have an even better chance at selling your story.
Manage your online reputation
Lastly, you must look after the online reputation of your company. If you Google your PR firm, what do you see? If you find many negative reviews, you need to work on cleaning them up.
Similarly, if you search your brand and it comes up with nothing, it wouldn’t hurt to get some positive media out there that helps build authority within your space.
When an editor inevitably searches your company, you want them to be encouraged to publish your stories, not put off. Keep that in mind.
You will probably be competing against hundreds of other individuals and businesses who are all vying to get their content published on a top media outlet. Because of this, don’t be afraid to showcase your uniqueness and demonstrate the value that you believe your company and your stories can bring to the table.
If you have an interesting anecdote that you think will add value to the piece, then be sure to include it in your pitch.
Anything that makes your story stand out (in a positive way, of course) will undoubtedly work in your favor, so don’t be afraid to be original.